Tag Archives: tara leigh cobble

The BSW Raven Awards:: Where Everyone Wins!

24 Apr

Now that GMA Week is over and the Dove Awards have been handed out, I can finally announce the winners of the Backseat Writer 1st Annual Raven Awards.  Here’s the thing with the Raven Awards, if you’re nominated, you win!  Of course, our winners don’t get a cool looking-trophy (maybe next year). Heck, half of ‘em won’t even know they won a Raven Award…but that’s not really the point.

The point, dear friends, is to nominate songs that have impacted my life and the lives of those around me throughout the past year.  Whether these are artists who are making it big or who are rockin’ the indie scene, they have all been meaningful to me.

Originally, I thought it would be funny to have my own awards to rival the Doves…and what’s the opposite of a white bird of peace?  The black bird of death!  Then I thought to myself, that’s not really the message I want to send.   But then I realized why ravens are among my favorite birds.  The book of Kings speaks of the prophet Elijah’s flight into the desert when he was fleeing for his life from Queen Jezebel, who promised to kill him.  While sitting under a broom tree, God provided His messenger with food delivered to him by ravens.  In this instance, ravens were used by God to bring life to His Child, who was in a very dark place (read my post “Fed by the Ravens”).  To me, being fed by ravens is be given a message from God Himself, delivered by a third party.

Thus, these are my “Ravens.”  Feel free to nominate anyone you think deserves a BSW Raven Awards in the comments section. You can share how this artist or song has impacted you.  Sorry, I just don’t have the energy to put links to everyone–do a Backseat Writer site–chances are that I’ve written about these artists. Oh, and we definitely needed some side art; I’m not favoring the artists whose pictures appear on this post!

(Artist pics from top to bottom:: Seabird, Tara Leigh Cobble, Josh Wilson, This Beautiful Republic)

Song of the Year

“Cinderella”—Steven Curtis Chapman
“For the Life of Me”-This Beautiful Republic
“Learning How to Die”—Jon Foreman
“Don’t Wash Your Hands of Me”—Alli Rogers
“Britney”—Bebo Norman
“Savior, Please”—Josh Wilson
“Listen Up”—Brandon Heath
“Rescue”—Seabird
“Hold My Heart”—Tenth Avenue North
“Still Young”-Shirock

Male Vocalist of the Year

Bebo Norman
Jon Foreman
Josh Wilson
Brandon Heath
Fernando Ortega

Female Vocalist of the Year

Alli Rogers
Francesca Battistelli
Dawn Richardson (Fireflight)
Tara Leigh Cobble

Band of the Year

This Beautiful Republic
Seabird
Leeland
Shirock
The Myriad

Album of the Year

Til We See The Shore—Seabird
Limbs & Branches—Jon Foreman
Empty and Beautiful—Matt Maher
Perceptions—This Beautiful Republic
Bebo Norman—Bebo Norman
Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup—Josh Wilson

If any of our winners want the world to know about his or her or their amazing award, please feel free to use this cool award jpg I designed!  It’s not a statue, but it’s pretty darn close. Congrats to all our award winners!

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Amy’s Favorite Things (Take that, Oprah!)

13 Dec

By Amy Sondova Every year, Oprah Winfrey features a few of her favorite things on her daytime talk show (“Oprah’s Favorite Things“) and then adorns the audience with each and every one of her favorite things.  Well, I’m not Oprah, and therefore, cannot give all Backseat Writer’s readers samples of everything that I adore.  But I can tell you where to get ‘em.   Without further adieu, I bring you “Amy’s Favorite Things,” which I hope will help you as you finish shopping foryour favorite people this holiday season (and beyond.   These are timeless suggestions).

Altered Art Charm from TickleMePinkBoutique on Etsy.com

Altered Art Charm from TickleMePinkBoutique on Etsy.com

*Etsy.com—Have you visited this site?  It’s a entire craft show right on your computer screen with everything from Scrabble tile pendants to handcrafted shoes!  There are a plethora of cool things for guys and gals alike.  Don’t believe me, guys?  Check out some of the screen printed messenger bags and t-shirts.  There’s something for everyone, and unique is the bottom line.

*Music—Every year almost everyone on my Christmas list can expect to get a CD or two.  This year there are a few artists who are hot on my list—debut artist Josh Wilson and music veteran Bebo Norman.  Besides being two of the nicest and most open guys I’ve ever interviewed, they’re also great singer/songwriters who released albums this year.  Bebo Norman’s self-titled release, Josh Wilson’s Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup, and Jon Foreman’s Limbs and Branches are must-haves!  But perhaps you’re looking for something a little rockier, then look no further than Seabird’s ‘Til We See the Shore or This Beautiful Republic’s sophomore album, Perceptions.   If you want to support indie artists, then get lost in the vocals of Tara Leigh Cobble’s Playing Favorites or Justin McRoberts’ latest project, Deconstruction.  And here are a few more recommendations: Narrow Stairs – Death Cab For Cutie; What If We – Brandon Heath; The Nashville EP and the Bee Sides – Relient K;  Opposite Way – Leeland;  With Arrows, With Poise – The Myriad;  anything by Caedmon’s Call, Fernando Ortega, Phil Keaggy.

Limbs and Branches - Jon Foreman

Limbs and Branches - Jon Foreman

*Sock Monkeys & socks—Is it just me or are you always running out of socks, too?  Whether getting lost in the wash, stolen by a shih tzu who shall remain nameless (Maddy!), or developing ginormous holes, pairs of socks seem to lose their mate after a month or two.  Therefore, I wear a lot of mismatched socks–argyle, plaid, and all patterns funky are worn together and I become a candidate for “What Not to Wear”.  Besides becoming a fashion mishap, there are are only things to do with those single socks.  You could make sock

monkeys, of course! You don’t even have to limit yourself to monkeys, there are patterns for all kinds of creatures online (sock monster, sock owl).  Then you can sell your creations at etsy.com.  Or you could just buy a conventional sock monkey at sockmonkey.com.

*Digital Cameras—The first time I got my hands on a digital camera, I took pictures of everything in sight, and I haven’t stopped.  My first pictures weren’t that great; then again, my camera wasn’t that great.  Yet I treasure the images of my grandmother’s last Christmas with our family.  Buy yourself a camera to capture the moments that truly matter, and then buy one for someone else.  Check around for the best prices and give yourself a gift that goes far beyond an electronic device.  I highly recommend Canon cameras, but if you want to go a little cheaper, Olympus makes great cameras as well.

*Anything handcrafted by you—Maybe you’re not into making sock monkeys, but there are tons of other projects in which to immerse yourself.  Try your hand at crocheting or knitting (you can even use a knitting loom like the Knifty Knitter) and make everyone scarves, hats, and SOCKS!  (See what a valuable gift socks can be?)  You could paint a thoughtful picture or make a collage.  If you’re not crafty, melt chocolate wafers and dip some pretzels; chocolate-covered pretzels make great gifts!  If all else fails, just make your dad an ashtray like you did in kindergarten—he’ll still think it’s cute (hopefully!)

Psych - Season 2

Psych - Season 2

*Amazon.com—Free shipping on orders over $25 and books, music, and DVD’s galore.  Every year Amazon is adding to its inventory.  I check back every day to see what’s on sale so I can nab Psych Seasons 1 & 2, Bones Seasons 1-3, books like The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen, The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey, the chick-lit novels of my fave fictionista, Christa Banister and those aforementioned CD’s at discounted prices.

*Ebay.com—Whatever you can’t find on Amazon.com, you can find on Ebay.  There are literally millions of treasures on this site from low, low prices on video games to truly bizarre items like vintage hand towels.  But whatever you’re looking for, you can probably find it on Ebay.  You can also find a bunch of stuff you weren’t looking for, too.

*Michael’s, A.C. Moore, Joann’s—Craft stores are slashing their prices, and signing up for their e-mail newsletters allows customers to get even more coupons (especially if you don’t get them in your local newspaper).  Remember that camera I told you to buy?  You can get beautiful frames for those pics on sale at any of these stores for 40-50% off during the holiday season.  Plus, custom framing is 60% off (I say buy a frame and do-it-yourself!)  Not only that, but you can find deals on Christmas décor, craft kits for the kids, and nice gifts like candle holders and scented candles for your co-workers.  Even if you aren’t crafty, craft stores are a great place to shop for gifts.

Even though Black Friday has come and gone, you can still save money and give great presents to your loved ones…and those people you don’t really like that you still have to buy for.  We know Christmas isn’t all about the presents, but if you’re like me, you sure do like to get them (hey, I’m being honest here).  Plus, great presents show cleverness and creativity that has little to do with price and everything to do with thoughtfulness.  Our mere trinkets can never compare to the gift of God’s Son wrapped in humanity, so as we give to one another let us remember the greatest gift that mankind was ever given.

Click here to see all my my favorite things!

Hitchhiking with Tara Leigh Cobble

20 Sep

By Amy Sondova If you’ve been around the singer/songwriter end of the indie music scene, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of Tara Leigh Cobble.  The sassy singer is also an accomplished author and speaker, who grew up in Tennessee hunting and gutting.  Between working on her third book, playing shows and touring (including a recent trip to Seoul, South Korea), and exploring Manhattan, Tara Leigh was sweet enough to answer a few questions via e-mail for Backseat Writer.

Clearly you love New York City, how’d a Tennessee girl end up on the East Coast?

The basic answer is that God made it clear to me that He wanted me in NYC, so I went.  The details of the story were enough to fill a book, so I turned it into one (Crowded Skies: Letters to Manhattan).  It’s about knowing and discerning the voice of God in regard to life decisions.

Do you really know how to use a gun and gut ducks?  (Have you adapted to gutting pigeons being in the city?)

I do!  And unfortunately, I’m not allowed to have a gun in the City!  Sad.

Your faith seems to ooze out of your music and your writing—how did you and God meet?

I grew up in a home where Jesus was a daily thing—my parents lived out their relationship with Him in front of my eyes.  When I was four years old, my brother Jason and I were playing a board game, and he asked me if I wanted to meet Jesus.  I told him I did, so I prayed a short prayer asking Jesus to save me and be in my life.  It might seem like I was too young for that to be real, but He was faithful to answer me.

Some of the songs on your latest project, Playing Favorites, like “Walking on Sunshine” and “Holding Out For a Hero” are covers of classic, but where did your unique slant on “Hallelujah” come from?

I heard the song covered by so many people, but I’d never heard a girl cover it, so I set out to learn it.  When I was picking through it the first time, I realized that the chords and the feel worked perfectly with “Thy Word” so I knit them together.  The things that I cling to in both songs fit seamlessly in my mind.  It’s still one of my favorite songs to play live.

But what about songs I never heard before like “Everlasting Love” and “Please Forgive Me” and my personal favorite “I Wonder”?

“Everlasting Love” is one of those rare pop songs that has a message about love that isn’t far off from what God says.  It’s pure and hopeful, and it reminds me that God’s best is worth waiting for.  “Please Forgive Me” was a suggestion from Lee McDerment, who helped produce the record as well as sing and play on it.  He and I sat down at the piano one day and he worked out that slower, softer version—I loved it.  On that same day, he suggested that I do a piano version of “I Wonder.”  I hesitated because I’d already put two versions of the song on two other albums.  But on his first attempt at interpreting the song, he left me speechless, with tears in my eyes.  I knew I had to do it again.  Today, it is my favorite version of any song I’ve ever recorded.

This is almost like a girl power album.  You have super powers, don’t you?

I can kick really high.  I can drive long distances without much sleep.  But I have yet to learn how to eradicate calories in ice cream.  If you figure that one out, let me know!

How did you survive producer (and Sparrow Recording Artist) Josh Wilson’s hot recording closet?  (Word on the street is that he makes people record vocals in the closet to make sure background noise is at a minimum).

True story!  It was burning up in there.  He tried to buy an air conditioner, but we recorded in January, and Home Depot didn’t have any in stock at that time.  I took frequent breaks to run outside and roll around in the snow.

You emerged on the indie scene eight years ago; why have you remained an indie artist for so long?

Fame doesn’t motivate me at all.  In fact, not only am I not interested in it, but I don’t want it.  At all.  And most labels are propelled by the mission of achieving a far-and-wide acceptance of their artists.  Since their vision usually conflicts so drastically with what God has put in my heart, it’s been an easy answer up to this point.

I heard that you have signed with a major recording label, is there any truth to this rumor?

Nope.  There have been talks, but at the end of the day, it always comes around to me staying independent.  There could be a time when that changes, if the right things fall in place and our visions line up.

You are one busy lady—singing, speaking, writing—how do you manage it all?

I’m still trying to figure that out!  God has always helped me fit the right things into my schedule.  Summers are slow for touring, so I spend my summers writing and working on talks.  Lately He’s been providing a lot more opportunities for me to speak, so I’m throwing myself into that more than into writing songs.  Just trying to follow His lead.

What are some of your favorite topics to write about?  (Basically, what’s your niche?)

Jesus shows up in everything.  He cares about every detail.  He speaks to me about work, rest, friends, charity, love, brokenness, nature, guys that I like—He covers all that ground in our conversations.  So when I write, I tell those stories.  I talk about the way He speaks to me, the way He works, the things He says.  I call my style “spiritual memoir,” but the main truth that lies underneath all my writing is this: intimacy with God is possible, it’s vital, and He has gone to great lengths to achieve that with you.  He wants to be involved in every part of your life.

I know you’re working on a book right now—what’s it about?

It’s kind of a secret.  The plan is for it to be the third in the “Letters” trilogy.  That’s all I’m prepared to publicly say right now.  Hah!  Sorry.

Perhaps one of my favorite Tara Leigh “things” is your Twitter updates, why do you Twitter?

Twitter serves many purposes to me—it’s a way to remind myself of things I need to remember, it keeps me updated on the lives of friends near and far, it serves as a journal, and it encourages me.  Also, I once twittered that my iPod was broken and a guy who follows my feed gave me a new one!  You can’t beat that!

If I was in Manhattan, where’s the best place to get a bagel?

H&H Bagel on the Upper West Side.  It’s the best in the City!  But if you want the best bagel in the entire world, you’ll have to go to Corner Bagel in Anderson, South Carolina.  It cannot be beat.

How do you feel about being labeled “the female Donald Miller”?

It’s an honor, of course!  The only drawback is that sometimes male readers think that means I don’t translate into dude-speak.  They think I’m “the Donald Miller for females,” but I try to be relevant to both sexes.

How can I apply to be your temporary merch girl?

Next time I’m playing a show near you, shoot me an email!  I’d love to have you behind my merch table!  Whee!!

Print copy of interview.

To learn more about Tara Leigh Cobble and her amazing work, visit her online at taraleighcobble.com.  Head on over to iTunes or Amazon.com to buy or download her latest album, Playing Favorites.  While you’re checking out TLC merch, you’ve got to order her books, Here’s to Hindsight: Letters to My Former Self and Crowded Skies: Letters to Manhattan.

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